The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - VOICES | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - VOICES

voices review
A woman tries to solve the mystery of the voices of lost souls that have been speaking to her since childhood.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Nathaniel Nuon

Starring: Valerie Jane Parker, Ashley Bell, Jordan Ladd, Leslie Easterbrook, Jenna Harvey, Jonathan Stoddard, Rezeta Veliu

voices poster

Blind psychologist Lilly (Valerie Jane Parker) is assisting a child patient cope with the death of her father. She ends the session by telling the kid to be tough, as her mother needs her more than ever - not great advice, especially from a professional!

She has a flashback to her own childhood when she lost her sight (and her mother) in a terrible car accident driving home from the graveyard where her father is buried.

voices review

Overbearing melodramatic orchestral music tells us this is a Sad Scene in case the audience missed it; this music continues to intrude throughout the movie.

Young Lilly (Chloe Romanski, with Jenna Harvey playing her teen incarnation) starts hearing voices after the accident, but whether these are ghosts or hallucinations is up for interpretation.

When the older present-day Lilly has a client who happens to be a medium (Diana), it opens a dialogue about the nature of life and death; particularly when it comes out that Lillian is pregnant and the medium (never once credible as a grieving mother) believes her dead son can be reborn in Lilly’s child. We are introduced to a very large cast of characters including ghosts, killers, police, extended friend circles etc. and the story is filled with lots of flashbacks as it goes on, and on, and on.

Padded out with unnecessary scenes such as get-togethers with friends that seem to come out of nowhere and instead of adding context just add confusion, this film is lacking a central driving narrative. I wouldn’t have known what this is meant to be about if I hadn’t read a synopsis.

voices review

The script by director Nathaniel Nuon is where the problem lies. It needs honing and tightening, not to mention trimming at least 20 minutes from its flabby 1 hour and 50-minute screen time. His direction is fine however, and allows one or two effectively creepy scenes to really shine; his restraint works well and allows an audience to feel suitably chilled rather than the gross-out he could have gone for.

A lot of the acting is wooden and you get the feeling that there was a time constraint and therefore they only got a chance to do one take of each scene; not enough care was taken here in order to get a more naturalistic feel from the performers.

Unfortunately because of its length, it really does struggle to maintain interest. There’s a thread of a tale about a little girl called Madison (Claire Marie Burton) that runs through the film and is somewhat intriguing, but there is so much unnecessary ‘story’ that it gets lost in all the fluff until it becomes central to the ending. The supernatural stuff at the long-time-coming finale feels a little silly, the ‘philosophical’ voiceover is annoying and ‘Hallmark’, and of course there’s that painfully tedious script. This is a film that thinks it can have its cake and eat it too, but in trying to be and do everything, it never fully succeeds at anything.

voices review

On the positive side, I do like some of the cinematography - it is quite a handsome looking film, and I appreciate the little touches such as changing Lilly’s sunglasses for different occasions and ages.

There is also a dream scene that is truly the stuff of nightmares and won’t easily be forgotten.

This isn’t a bad film; it's a frustrating one because it could and should have been much better if it could have stuck to a genre and stripped the confounding dead weight. Hopefully the next project from Nuon will fulfill this film’s promise.

Voices is on UK/ROI VOD/Digital now.

2021 movie reviews